Tiger King's Doc Antle charged with wildlife trafficking and animal cruelty

Katie Ramirez
October 10, 2020

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's (D) office announced on Friday that Doc Antle was charged with 13 misdemeanors, and a felony count each for wildlife trafficking, conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking; nine misdemeanor counts were for animal cruelty and four other were for an alleged conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act.

One year after the conviction of Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka Joe Exotic, another character in the wildly popular Netflix documentary has been indicted. Tawny Antle has been charged with one misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals and one misdemeanor count of violating the Endangered Species Act, while Tilakum Watterson has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals and two misdemeanor counts of violating the Endangered Species Act.

'On or about July 24 or 25, 2019 Bhagavan Antle did unlawfully conspire with Keith Wilson to take within the Commonwealth any fish or wildlife (to wit: one female lion) appearing on any list of threatened or endangered species.'court documents said. Following the news, Antle told Access Hollywood, "I'm terribly shocked and disappointed at the charges that have been filed against me by the Commonwealth of Virginia and how they've sought to involve my daughters in this stuff, just insane".

He is also charged with our misdemeanour counts of violating the Endangered Species Act, four misdemeanour counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act, and nine misdemeanour counts of animal cruelty.

Antle operates the Myrtle Beach Safari in SC with the aid of many young women with whom he also has romantic relationships. One faces a misdemeanour count of cruelty to animals and a misdemeanour count of violating the Endangered Species Act.

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The charges are the result of a months-long investigation into the pair, and it is alleged, amongst other things, that they trafficked lion cubs between Virginia and SC.

According to authorities, search warrant was executed at Antle's SC property in December 2019. A trial in that case is scheduled in June. Wilson's Wild Animal Park is now closed down.

Representatives for Antle did not immediately respond to The Times' requests for comment Friday.

Wilson was indicted on 46 counts of animal cruelty in November 2019 and the state seized 119 animals including lions, tigers, bears, camels, goats, water buffalo, and more.

Stark has claimed he rescues and rehabilitates wildlife before returning animals to their native habitats.

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